THE PUNK SINGLES COLLECTION
UK reggae punks 45 revolutions.
With the death of lead singer Malcolm Owen in July 1980, the short but meteoric rise of UK punks The Ruts was cut short. This singles ‘best of’ pulls together all their chart 45s like the mighty ‘Babylon’s Burning’ and ‘Something That I Said’ plus debut ‘In A Rut’, ‘Staring At The Rude Boys’, ‘Jah War’ and ‘West One’. Together with B-sides and the Captain’s usual informative sleeve notes, it’s a perfect introduction to one of the UK’s finest and most underrated ’70s punk acts.
THE SCOURGE OF RIVER CITY
THE SCOURGE OF RIVER CITY
Soon to be the pride of River City.
The Scourge Of River City have followed up their already big live reputation with a debut album of some quality. They really do have and eclectic mixture of influences that they absorb and regurgitate as an unrecognisable but distinctly familiar though hugely original sound. They utilise a double bass but don’t centre on it and they have a definite aural charisma that defies their understated image because it’s all about the music. Catchy choruses abound in an album full of killer and often poles apart tunes. There are hints of a Hellcat influence in there in places as well as glimpses of psychobilly but the whole album sure rocks and should ensnare and endear themselves at first attempt to an audience that won’t know what’s hit them.
THE SEX PISTOLS
Classic Pistols bootleg repackaged.
The bootleg ‘Spunk’ album beat the Sex Pistols’ ‘Never Mind The Bollocks’ into the shops in 1977, much to the chagrin of Virgin boss Richard Branson, and just to add insult to injury, was probably a better set. Comprising of demos recorded by Dave Goodman at the band’s Denmark Street rehearsal room, Riverside Studios and Lansdowne Studios in 1976 and Gooseberry Studios and Eden Studios in January 1977, the results were raw, but captured the early Pistols’ fury perfectly. Here you get the album, with the same tracks as last year’s CD and vinyl reissues, but this time they’re all on 7” singles in a box. Unfortunately I can’t tell you much more than that as we just got a CD copy with few details, but it still all sounds great to me.
A solo debut that’s worth the wait from the former Banshee.
It feels like she’s been away forever, but ‘Mantaray’, Siouxsie’s first solo effort, sees punk rock’s former ice maiden creatively doing very nicely. Having burned her bridges with the Banshees, her main vehicle for two decades, the kaleidoscopic patterns of Siouxsie’s muse are still shifting, achieving rich fruition with ‘Mantaray’s sonic cross-pollinations. Into A Swan breaks several years of musical silence with naggingly insistent overdrive, coming on like T-Rex filtered through an eastern film score, Siouxsie’s vocals having lost none of their imperious grandeur. ‘Here Comes That Day’ retains the cinematic flavour, all stabbing brass and swooping theramin, while there’s echoes of former glories with the ‘Creatures In Loveless’s marimba motifs. ‘If It Doesn’t Kill You’ is a torchy slow burn, while ‘Sea Of Tranquility’ with its tabla-driven rhythms and swirling sonic plumes is a beguiling pleasure. Signing off with ‘Heaven And Alchemy’, Siouxsie drops her guard for some piano-led after-hours introspection; like a good liqueur, the song puts the close on a sensory sonic banquet, and one that’s done the former Ms Susan Ballion proud.
SPEAR OF DESTINY
GRAPES OF WRATH 3/5 / ONE EYED JACKS 4/5
Epic ‘80s post-punk rockers.
Kirk Brandon shot to fame when his goth punk band Theatre Of Hate crashed into the UK charts on the back of the single ‘Do You Believe In The Westworld’. While TOH only lasted one album his next band, Spear of Destiny, fared a lot better and are still playing on and off today. Their debut album, 1983’s ‘Grapes Of Wrath’, was a much more straightforward rock approach, but epic in every way. Containing the chart single ‘The Wheel’, SOD were up and running but it was the follow-up ‘One Eyed Jacks’ that saw them hit their stride. Chart anthems like ‘Liberator’ and the soaring ‘Prisoner Of Love’ smashed into the charts off the back of Brandon’s majestic voice, howling saxophone and super tight five-piece band. Kirk Brandon’s voice survives as strong as ever today and live he’s still a real force to be reckoned with. Highly recommended.
DIG YOURSELF DEEP
Cracking new album from Irish punk maestros.
When The Undertones returned to the fray without original singer Feargal Sharkey, a good number of eyebrows were raised – not due to anyone doubting the abilities of the other members, but because his shrill vibrato delivery was so distinctive. The unenviable task of filling the Sharkey shoes went to Paul McLoone, but he quickly convinced the doubters, perfectly fitting in with the right pitch and tone, but avoiding what could have been an embarrassing parody of his predecessor. The Undertones’ 2003 album ‘Get What You Need’ was well received, as have been many live shows, and ‘Dig Yourself Deep’ is even better. John O’Neill, always the band’s main songwriter, is at his best here, with many songs that hark back to the band’s early, goofy, love-sick material. Wisely, though, the likes of ‘Him Not Me’ and ‘Everything You Say Is Right’ are tales of more mature relationships and failed marriage, not teen angst. They still have the same affect though: fantastically joyous tunes with a bittersweet edge.